Radical Acceptance: You Don’t Have to Agree to Accept



Last year I was living in New York City, which was an interesting time to be in Manhattan. I worked on 56th Street and Fifth Avenue, just across from Trump Tower. Police and passerbys filled the street every day, taking photos of the tower, the anti-Trump signs and the protesters.

Although I tried to keep a neutral stance, I was a Bernie Sanders supporter from the very start. I was able to go to his rally in the Bronx with 18,500 others, and needless to say, was quite disappointed with the overall outcome. However, I was left with no other choice: to accept.


Before the rally. St. Ann’s Park, South Bronx

While I miss New York from time to time, I don’t miss the crowds and the aggression. There is the constant rat race to achieve more and better, to get somewhere faster and to trample over people to get what you want (both figuratively and literally). Our new President displays this to a tee.

After leaving NYC I had the opportunity to take some time to reflect and re-assess my purpose. I knew that I wasn’t living the life I was destined for and that the rat race wasn’t where I belonged. Everything in my life became so unmanageable that I had to spend some time to hit reset and focus on my own self-care.

Hoping for an answer, I learned about a woman last fall named Marsha Linehan, a psychologist who created Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). DBT is a type of psychotherapy that combines behavioral science with concepts like acceptance and mindfulness. Dr. Linehan came up with a set of distress tolerance skills to help with mental disorders, addiction, business and everyday life. My very favorite skill is Radical Acceptance– accepting reality for what it is. While you can’t change everything, there is an amazing feeling of peace when you simply accept.

Although I wasn’t convinced that DBT could work for me, it changed my life. I believe it is what gave me my spiritual awakening, and for that I am beyond grateful. Re-learning a way to think and to consistently be conscious of the present moment has been key to my overall well-being and happiness. My stress has diminished and my anxiety attacks have stopped. Each time I begin to worry or have an unsettling feeling, I stop and bring myself back to the moment. 

Everything else is in my imagination- all I have is here and now.

We can’t determine what the next four years will look like, so living in fear today is pointless. All we can do is stay in the moment, have gratitude and love one another. We’re all in this together, but it’s a conscious choice whether you want to be a part of the positivity. When we all do better, we all do better.

Please be safe this weekend- especially to my friends who are marching in Washington DC tomorrow. Everything will be okay- and remember:

Today, right now, I am safe. My needs are met. For this I am grateful.


Nothing but peace at the Bernie Sanders rally 

About Kristin Fehrman

Boston-based writer. Living beautifully at Mindful in Style.
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One Response to Radical Acceptance: You Don’t Have to Agree to Accept

  1. Pingback: Battling the Winter Blues | Mindful in Style

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